Well, the flame trees here have been stunning this year, bright red and beautiful.
I hope very much my UK followers are also having a well-deserved flaming June. I apologise for not writing recently but work and play has overtaken my desire to write too much.
Have been off to the dentist a couple of times now - never expected better treatment here than at home!
I am now at the end of the first quarters work and am reviewing the progress made. The people I work with are very pleasing but are not sure what to do with me. They have never had an adviser before let alone a western volunteer and it is all a bit much for them. They answer my questions but rarely allow me insight into their work. Having to go through a translator means discussion is slow as you have to make sure he understands before he translates and puts the question to my colleagues. I have begun some training on analysis of school statistics and data management, I have forged relationships with other NGOs to form an education network in Kampot and the highlight of the work so far has been a day out with colleagues to a very far away district where we had to have breakfast and lunch out. How can they eat so much and be so thin? 6 or 7 giant spoons of rice at each meal is normal. When we arrived the school put on a performance of traditional dance to welcome us which was so graceful and perfect.
We have finally found a few friends here who are volunteers like us,3 US Peace Corps, 3 Koreans, 3 from Japan, 1 Australian and 1 elderly women in her 70s from the UK. We meet every Tuesday for a beer and a catch up in one of the riverfront bars. We have taken the motos to the Sihanoukville for a long weekend twice (this is the local Blackpool and sadly filled with loads of old, geeky looking European men and young Khymei women partners. A shame, as the town and beaches are quite nice. Usually, at the weekend we go to the nearest beach for a swim, and we have had lots of visitors to stay which has been good. Not being so remote has many advantages. I had a really nice weekend a while ago in Phnom Penh with good friends, Ashley, Ali, Anna and Andy. To even things up a little Anna christened me Abby for the evening, actually I felt more like an Alice!
Workers in the salt fields of Kampot.
Our house is more homely now and we have got used to living in the town. I can cycle to work in 3 minutes and 5 minutes to the riverfront. Dave is back to the UK at the beginning of July for 2 months. It will be interesting to see how I cope on my own. Hope I do not like it too much!